CLOSE TO THE BONE by David Wiltse


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 A prequel showing how, before FBI Special Agent John Becker tangled with the psychopathic killer of Prayer for the Dead (1991), he was pitted against a psychopathic political assassin on the loose in New York. The assassin is Roger Bahoud, who's been hired to kill an unnamed statesman during the UN ceremonies on the Year of the Child--and kill him in such a way that an ineffectual fringe group, the Brotherhood of Zion, will be blamed. Bahoud, an abused child who turned on his father and went on to kill half a dozen men by sticking them in the ear with pointed wires, is one scary guy--but then so is Becker, who's good at his job because he feels the same unholy excitement that his murderous prey feel. As Bahoud makes his way from the Mideast to Poland to Canada to New York, a lucky break at the Canadian border crossing--the victim Bahoud had killed for his passport is discovered ahead of schedule--puts Becker on his trail. As Bahoud goes to ground (under the wildly unconvincing alias Meyer Kane) with the unwitting Brotherhood's chicken-hearted leader Howard Goldsmith and his crippled sister Myra--duping Howard and his Keystone terrorists into leading an attack on a dying former PLO intimate and killing the old man after they've spray-painted his mosque with Zionist graffiti--Becker follows the trail of corpses--the playwright client of Myra's who hinted that he worked for the government; the Brotherhood member who threatened to turn Kane in--to the obligatory scene in the Goldsmiths' place as Bahoud is zeroing in on his target though a rifle scope. The battle of psychos doesn't look nearly as original in an antiterrorist setting as it did in Prayer for the Dead--but Wiltse evokes the creepy intensity of the hunter and his prey as well as anybody who's worked that genre in years.

Pub Date: Oct. 22nd, 1992
ISBN: 0-399-13718-1
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1992


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